Wireless smart object technologies have accelerated growth for Internet of Things (IoT) markets, according to global technology research firm ON World.

“Advances with low power wireless components, MEMs sensors and cloud based software have made wireless smart objects one of the hottest investment areas for the Internet of Things, said Mareca Hatler, ON World’s research director. “The landscape has shifted from commercial, industrial and vertical niches to mass market consumer opportunities.”

ON World’s analysis of several hundred companies in 20 markets found that $3.4 billion has been invested in wireless smart object startups including component suppliers, stack licensors, device manufacturers and software developers.

There are four major investable categories for wireless Internet of Things companies:

Wireless Sensor Network Components and Enabling Technologies

More than two dozen wireless sensor network (WSN) component suppliers have raised $489 million in venture capital with investments approaching $1 billion so far through acquisitions and public offerings.

Silicon Labs recently acquired Energy Micro that provides low power microprocessors and a fourfold reduction in power consumption for RF transceivers. ARM’s acquisition of 6LoWPAN pioneer Sensinode has provided increased visibility for IoT technologies and the migration to Internet Protocol (IP) addressable sensors and actuators.

Integrated Systems & Smart Devices

Integrated systems and smart device manufacturers make up over half of the companies ON World evaluated and 83% of the acquisitions. Google’s acquisition of Nest for $3.2 billion illustrates the growing confidence in IoT markets and increasing mass market acceptance of disruptive wireless smart objects such as the Learning Thermostat and Protect, a smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

Wireless smart lighting is another rapidly growing area where more than 50 years of LED research is starting to payoff in the form of Internet connected wireless enabled LED light bulbs. Backed by the Connected Lighting Alliance and lighting giants such as Philips and Osram Sylvania, ZigBee Light Link currently leads the market for residential wireless LED lighting.

By 2020, there will be over 100 million Internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps worldwide.

Cloud Software and Data Analytics

Cloud software IoT startups focused on WSN solutions have the largest valuations and raised more than any of the other product categories. Although the number of acquisitions and IPOs are currently lower than the other categories, many of the investments are fairly recent.

Some of the largest investments to date have been in smart home and energy management platforms by Alarm.com, iControl Networks and Tendril that have each raised over $100 million. Growing areas are seamless cloud connectivity, quality of service and integration platforms such as those provided Arrayent, Ayla Networks, GreenWave Reality, Revolv, WeMonitor and Zonoff.

Wearables, Mobile Sensing Devices and Mobile Apps

The fourth category ON World evaluated is wireless wearable, body area network and mobile sensing devices that connect to the cloud through smartphones and tablet PCs. Although it is a relatively new investment area, this category has already raised half a billion dollars including Jawbone, Fitbit and Basis Science (recently acquired by Intel).

According to ON World, 5 billion Internet connected wireless sensors and actuators will be shipped by 2019.

ON World’s Wireless Internet of Things Set covers all the major WSN technologies such as ZigBee, 802.15.4, 6LoWPAN, WiFi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, EnOcean and others in this seven report set that includes: 802.15.4 & ZigBee, IP Smart Object Networks, Health & Wellness Wireless Sensor Networks, Smart Building Wireless Sensor Networks, Smart Home Sensor Networks, Smart Wireless Lighting and Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks.

The report set synopsis and a free executive summary is available from: http://www.onworld.com/iotset

About ON World

ON World provides global business intelligence on smart technology markets. Our market research and information services are sold to Fortune 1000 companies, startups and investors worldwide.